Country club killer headed back to UBC law school
Published Wednesday, August 31, 2011 5:53PM PDT
A West Vancouver man who stabbed his friend to death is returning to law school at the University of B.C. after serving just a little more than two years in prison.
Sasan Ansari was convicted in the 2006 killing of Josh Goos, a friend that he admitted to stabbing more than 30 times outside the posh Hollyburn Country Club.
Goos's father Ron told ctvbc.ca that he was dismayed to learn Ansari will be allowed to return to his legal studies when school resumes next week.
"It's beyond me how our systems operate and how people think that's okay," Goos said.
"I certainly have empathy for the people who have to attend school with him. It has to be kind of unnerving to have that individual, based on what he's done, in your classroom."
Ansari has already completed two years of his law degree, beginning after Goos's death, but had to abandon his studies to deal with his murder trial and jail sentence.
UBC says it cannot comment specifically on its decision to allow Ansari to return, but James Ridge, the school's associate vice president for enrolment, says there is nothing in the admissions guidelines preventing a convicted killer from attending classes.
"The university generally does not investigate or assess its students' personal lives and does not discriminate against students simply because they have criminal records," Ridge said in an email.
"However, if the university has a reasonable basis upon which to determine that a student or prospective student poses a real risk to the university community, the university will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of its community."
Ansari was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2008 after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter, rather than the much more serious charge of second-degree murder with which he was originally charged.
He was let out of prison on day parole in January, and has been living in a halfway house since then. Ron Goos says he's received notice that Ansari will be appearing before a parole board next month to request full parole.
The grieving father says that Ansari's decision to keep pushing for more freedom is like a slap in the face for his family.
"He should accept his punishment. It would be much more palatable to my family, to the community, if he just accepted his punishment," he said.
"I just don't get it. He should be the kind of person who has to go somewhere else with a new identity after he's released."
During Ansari's original trial, his lawyers offered a defence of automatism, arguing that Josh Goos had threatened Ansari's family and boyfriend, and that Ansari's lethal response was something like a knee-jerk reaction that he could not control. He maintained that he had no memory of the killing.
That defence still rankles for the Goos family.
"It's interesting. You need a very large memory to be in law school, but he can't even remember what he did," Ron Goos said.
He acknowledges, however, that Ansari does have a certain charm, which may account for his remarkable conversion from accused murderer to prospective lawyer in the space of just a few years.
Character witnesses who testified on Ansari's behalf during his trial portrayed him as a caring friend who was always ready with advice or money for those in need. The former UBC football player also testified on his own behalf, and was articulate and self-deprecating.
But Goos believes that charismatic façade masks a dark ambition.
"He's got a charm that is fuelled by determination to get what he wants," Goos said.